CJI for constitutional court to deal with ‘federal’ cases

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K.G. Balakrishnan.
K.G. Balakrishnan.

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: Proposing sweeping changes in the appellate structure of the Indian legal system, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan said on Saturday that the country needed a new constitutional court to deal exclusively with matters relating to the Constitution, inter-State water disputes, and disputes and crimes of a ‘federal’ nature.

In an interview to The Hindu to mark the completion of three years in office on January 13, Justice Balakrishnan said the proposed court could be the country’s third appellate one. He pointed out that in South Africa there is a separate constitutional court with nine judges. Similarly the government could consider, though not in the immediate future, creation of an exclusive constitutional court here.

Justice Balakrishnan favoured this new court rather than creating Supreme Court Benches in various regions. He said “most people and those associated with the Supreme Court feel that once the Supreme Court sits elsewhere the identity of the institution is lost.”

With more and more appeals being filed in the Supreme Court against judgments of various High Courts, he felt that a constitutional court and four Supreme Courts in the four regions, including Delhi would be an ideal solution for litigants who had to come all the way to Delhi from far-off places. He said the government should think about this suggestion seriously, if not immediately, at least for the future.

The CJI suggested that sooner or later court proceedings in important constitutional and high profile cases must be telecast live so that people and litigants will know what the judges are doing for them.

He suggested launching of a separate television channel on the court premises just like the separate TV channel set up in Parliament to cover proceedings.

In these days of transparency the government should explore the possibility of a separate TV channel for the judiciary, he said.

The telecast would make judges even more conscientious in taking decisions and patently wrong orders could be criticised.

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